Courtesy of University of Walsh Sports Information
(NORTH CANTON, Ohio) – Walsh University and Director of Athletics Dale Howard are proud to announce eight new members to the Athletic Wall of Fame as part of its 33rd class this January. Those being inducted include Katherine (Drap) Caniglia, Lisa (Arnold) Contini, Mike Galassi, Rayshaun Kizer, Ellen Kutz, Dr. Mark Shepard, Randall Sistrunk, and Darian Tate.
The Class of 2015 is headlined by three former football players – Galassi, Kizer, and Tate – that led the Cavaliers on the gridiron between the years of 2001 and 2007. Kutz and Shepard will be inducted as a result of their meritorious service to the athletics program.
Caniglia (Women’s Track & Field and Cross Country, 1998-2001) was a national qualifier in cross country in 1999. She followed that up as she qualified for nationals for both cross country and indoor track & field in the 1,500 meter run in 2001. She still holds the indoor 1,500 meter run record for the Cavaliers with a time of 5:07.7. She held the 1,500 meter run outdoor record until last year with a time of 4:50.41. Caniglia was the cross country and track & field MVP in 2000 and equaled that honor for track & field in 2001.
Contini (Women’s Tennis, 1994-97) put together a fine career on the court for the Cavaliers in both singles and doubles play. She excelled in singles play where she was 61-15 combined during her four-year career. In just her first year, Contini advanced to the national tournament where she went 1-1 in singles play. She was All-District 22 in singles and doubles as a freshman. During her sophomore year, she won the MOC championship in singles play and was named to the All-MOC Team in both singles and doubles. Contini followed that up with an MOC doubles championship her junior year. She capped her stunning career off with a 20-1 singles record, a 19-2 doubles record, and an All-MOC Team selection in singles and doubles en route to being named Walsh’s Female Athlete of the year in 1996-97.
Galassi (Football, 2006-07) was a superb offensive lineman for the Cavaliers during his two years here after he transferred in from Kent State University. He was a two-time NAIA-AFCA First Team All-American at left tackle and former member of the Canadian Football League’s Toronto Argonauts. During his senior season, he helped pave the way for Clinton Blossomgame to rush for 1,487 yards, third-most all time for a single season at Walsh. After his junior season, he was named All-MSFA Mideast First Team, a member of the Executioner’s Club, and Victory Sports Network Honorable Mention after he blocked for another 1,000-yard rusher and started every game as the Cavaliers advanced to the NAIA playoffs.
Kizer (Football, 2003-06) helped the Cavaliers make their only playoff appearance after they won a school-record nine games and was an All-MSFA First Team selection as a defensive back in 2006 after a spectacular season where he intercepted five passes and returned two back for touchdowns. As a result, he was also honored nationally as Kizer was named an All-NAIA-AFCA Honorable Mention. In 2004, Kizer was also an All-MSFA Second Team selection after he picked off six passes, a mark that has him tied for third all-time in a single season. He is currently tied for third overall for career interceptions with 14. Kizer is also an Arena Football League veteran who has been named First Team All-Arena twice and Second Team All-Arena three times. Kizer currently holds the AFL record for interceptions in a single season with 16 in 2011 and is third all-time in career AFL interceptions with 57.
Kutz (Meritorious Service) has been at Walsh for 38 years and started as a school nurse. She then became the Director of Health Services and eventually became Director of Student Support Services. Kutz worked with student-athletes during that time and assisted them with health and wellness issues, financial aid and personal family issues. Kutz has helped students to achieve academic success by helping them with class attendance, financial aid, and was a resource and referral for campus assistance as needed. When Walsh University applied to become a member of the NCAA, she was the first compliance officer in 2009 as Walsh joined Division II and the GLIAC in the coming years. Through that challenging process, which involved eligibility issues and institutional concerns, Ellen’s impact on the Walsh program has been priceless.Shepard (Meritorious Service) has shown admirable dedication to not just Walsh University athletics, but Walsh University as a whole. He currently serves as the team physician for the athletics program, a post he has held since 1996. In addition to that, he was a former instructor here at Walsh in 1998 and 1999. Shepard has also volunteered his services to Walsh University as a member of the President Advisory Board from 1996 to 2004. As if that wasn’t enough, he was a member of the Walsh University Board of Directors from 2004 to 2014. In addition to serving the local community for numerous organizations, Shepard has also been an assistant team physician for teams such as the Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Rams, Los Angeles Kings, Los Angeles Lakers, Anaheim Mighty Ducks, and California Angels. He is currently an active staff member at Mercy Medical Center, Aultman Hospital, and Affinity Medical Center. He has completed several orthopaedic research projects presented locally and nationally, and his articles are published in numerous peer-reviewed journals.Sistrunk (Men’s Basketball, 2003-05) goes in to the Walsh Wall of Fame a second time as he was a member of the men’s basketball 2005 NAIA Division II national championship team that was inducted in 2012. He was an instrumental member of the famed squad as he was second on the team in points with 12.4 per game and led the team in rebounds with 7.8 per game. As a result, he was named an All-AMC First Team selection for a second consecutive year. During his junior season, he led the team with 15.3 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. The honors didn’t stop at the conference level as Sistrunk was named an NAIA All-American Honorable Mention after his senior campaign as well.
Tate (Football, 2001) played one memorable season for the Cavaliers in 2001 after he transferred from Northern Illinois University. Tate starred at defensive tackle and led Walsh to an 8-3 record and the program’s only Mid-States Football Association Mideast Championship. Tate paced the Cavs with 18 tackles for a loss which totaled 83 yards and set an all-time single season sack mark with 14. The 14 sacks also ranks sixth on the Walsh all-time career list despite only being tallied in one season. For his efforts, he was named First Team All-NAIA and Hansen Gazette All-American. He was also tabbed MSFA Defensive Player of the Year, First Team All-MSFA, and was a finalist for NAIA Defensive Player of the Year accolades. He was the first Cavalier to enter the NFL directly from Walsh when he signed with the Carolina Panthers as a free agent. He recorded four sacks in as single game on October 13, 2001 which is still tied with two others for most sacks in a single game. Tate was chosen for the Wall of Fame in 2014, but was stationed in Afghanistan after he enlisted that summer. He earned his undergraduate degree from Northern Illinois.This year’s class joins 153 inductees in the Walsh Athletics Wall of Fame.
The induction ceremony and dinner will take place on Friday, Jan. 29, 2016 at the Barrette Business and Community Center. There will be a reception at 6 p.m. with dinner to follow at 7.The following day, January 30, the inductees will attend the basketball doubleheader against Wayne State University where they will be introduced and recognized on the court at halftime of the men’s contest which starts at 3 p.m.